May 29, 2015

I-Octane thrills O2 Brixton Academy

Dancehall entertainer’s I-Octane and Macka Diamond attracted a full house at the 02 Brixton Academy in London, England on Sunday for a show dubbed 'More Life'.

Over 5,000 patrons crammed into the venue to be a part of 'More Life", the largest cultural experience for black music, with a heavyweight lineup that consisted of Mighty Crown, Stone Love, English ragga-pop star Ms Dynamite, Macka Diamond and I Octane.

I Octane was simply brilliant during his set opening up with "My Life No Easy like 1-2-3' for which he got a huge roar of approval from the audience. He clambered on top of the nearby speaker boxes on the stage, and the venue lifted as he declared "mi no wear bwoy clothes", and lighters dotted the venue. He told the crowd to buss a blank, leaping up on the speakers, and the crowd exploded.

He then changed gears neatly by serenading a sexy white girl in white leggings, white shirt and a black bikini bottom, by singing 'L-O-V-E'. Then he stopped to talk to the crowd for a few seconds, before he declared "ah the gal dem we love", and he performed 'Wine and Jiggle'. 

During this song, a buxom dark-skinned girl challenged the white girl, getting on all fours and wining up a storm, and the crowd loved it. Men beat Guinness bottles on nearby speaker boxes and the girls shrieked their delight.

Then Octane received a big forward when his white dancer got on her head, and he attempted to mount her in that position. The girls screamed out his name. 

He then settled down the crowd with 'No One Can Love You Like I Do' before upping the tempo again with a song for Chimney Records.

"If mi drop da song, and no man no move, then something wrong...TJ Records, Gal ting, it nu hard," he deejayed, and the forwards were defeaning inside the Brixton Academy. 

One of the high points of the night came when he instructed the technical personnel to lock off all the lights, so he could see the phone lights illuminating the venue. He then did 'Lose a Friend' with the crowd singing in unison, the phones making bright pinpoints of light like a million fireflies gathered in the gloom. It was a touching moment. 

Octane segued neatly into 'Study Yu Friend'. More forwards. 

"Mi can memba when mi did want to close a show at Brixton Academy and now it a happen," he said, before doing one of his biggest singles, Bun. He earned a forward, and then pulled up the song and did it again. 

"Him drink out mi fruit juice dem," he said laughing, and the crowd erupted into laughter. 

Then he segued into 'We Love the Vibes' pulling down the curtains on an excellent show. Earlier, Macka Diamond worked an excellent 25 minute set peppered with hits such as 'Bun Him', 'Done Already' and the monster hit, 'Dye Dye' and she interacted well with the crowd on one of the biggest shows that a female has performed on in the UK in several years. 

Dancehall insiders believe that 'More Life 2015' has put reggae back on the UK Map, especially against the background of no-shows because of visa challenges and poor organisations from promoters in recent years. 

The show was organised by  Another Level and Flames Radio promotions.

May 23, 2015

Warrior King plays Mexico to huge success

Kingston, JAMAICA:- Roots reggae singer, Warrior King, made another quantum leap in building his career and his fan base when he took a quick flight over to Mexico from his temporary base in the US, where he is now on an official one-month promotional tour.

The ‘Aint Giving Up’ singer was billed on the event alongside headliner, London-based reggae singer Macka B, and performed at the rocking Playa del Carmen beachside concert in front of a capacity audience of predominantly Mexican people, who have been showing increasing favour towards foundation reggae music. Although this was not Warrior King’s first trip to that Spanish-speaking country, it was undoubtedly his best experience so far. The artiste performed for an entire hour and the fans – some of whom were ‘discovering’ him and other who remembered his from a previous visit – were very receptive, surprising him by singing many of the songs word-for-word. In fact, so good was the response that the promoter has invited Warrior King to come back in August, when he will perform in a more official capacity in the capital, Mexico City.

Warrior King, who admits that he knows Spanish and has been practising the language quite a bit lately, feels that his ability to break into the Mexican market is due largely to the fact that although he is still relatively young, his voice has that “foundation reggae feel” and his music and lyrical content are conscious roots reggae.

“From what I can see, the Mexicans appear to have a preference for roots reggae and they listen to a lot of music from foundation artistes. Of course, Bob (Marley) is way up there and so too are artistes like Dennis Brown and Culture,” Warrior King explained. “I made the most of this opportunity by staying back at the event to sign autographs, take pictures with fans and encourage the fans to purchase my merchandise. I feel really good about this exposure and I know that the fans will spread the word,” added King, whose promo tour has been going exceptionally well.

In addition to providing quality entertainment for fans in Mexico last Sunday, the reggae singer has made stops in San Diego Beach, Tahoe City in California, Mills Valley, Cataluma, Laguna Beach, Nevada City and New Orleans, where he also quietly tapped into the college circuit. He noted that while not all the venues were capacity filled, one sure sign of success is that all the promoters have invited him back for subsequent shows.

He also did collaborations with artistes Jah Sun from Arcadia and Nico Marks from Los Angeles, both of whom did shoots for music videos for the songs. Warrior King also did a third video shoot, this time on his own for the newest single  Same Source from his upcoming album Rootz Warrior. He wraps up this leg of this “feel-good” promo tour with an appearance at the spectacular Best of the Best Festival at Bayfront Park, Miami Beach, Florida on May 24.

May 22, 2015

After inspiring school tour, it’s ‘More Life’ for I-Octane

I-Octane performing in the rain at Claude McKay High in Clarendon

Kingston, JAMAICA:- Fresh from a whirlwind school tour which saw reggae and dancehall ambassador, I-Octane, in full inspiration mode as he accomplished his two-fold mission of teaching values and preaching upliftment through his music, the accomplished entertainer is ready to hit the road with renewed vigour.

 I-Octane noted that although the main aim of the school blitz was to inspire the students, he admitted that he himself has been inspired by the students at Lennon, Claude McKay, Titchfield and Robert Lightbourne High Schools, and he is even more motivated to be the best role model that he can possibly be.
“If only we as artistes fully comprehend the great responsibility that we have to these young mind. These kids see us as little gods who can do no wrong, so whatever message we send out there through our lyrics and our behaviour, that is exactly what they are going to run with. When I spoke to the students about the importance of getting a good education, I could see them listening attentively and I hope that even one person will be motivated to start getting higher grades and aim for the stars,” I-Octane said passionately.
Badda Bing bring the right vibes at Titchfield High School in Portland
He added, “I was really moved by these kids. At one school it started to rain during my performance and nobody moved – not even the teachers. I want to say a big shout out to all the students and teachers of the schools we visited and thank them for their hospitality. And to the generous sponsors – Digicel, Busta Soft Drinks, Di Unit Sound System, Good Good Productions, Coke Lines Transportation Services and HEART Trust NTA – more love, because without them this tour wouldn’t have been possible.”

Now back to his full-time job, first up on I-Octane’s busy calendar is the More Life concert in London scheduled for the O2 Academy Brixton on May 24. This marks the first time in two years that the dynamic entertainer is performing in London and Octane is just as excited as his legions of fans, who have been expressing their anticipation. He returns to the island in time for the Star awards, in which he is nominated in three categories and is also among the night’s performers.
I-Octane(left) top student Cinton Predergast and Digicel Diaspora Manage Tari Lovell pose for a quick pic celebrating outstanding academic achievement (2)

The workaholic entertainer is also putting the finishing touches to his third studio album, which takes its title from his trademark slang, “Everthing Correck”. Produced by Marcus Myrie, the son of iconic deejay, Buju Banton, “Everthing Correck” is a masterpiece production from the young Myrie. The first single, Don’t Stop the Vibes, has already been causing a stir since its release and the accompanying music video has already been packaged.  

May 21, 2015


BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor -- Auto and Entertainment bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

ROSEMARY Duncan, coordinator of the three-member Buju Banton Defense Support Committee, says the incarcerated reggae artiste was "pressured into an agreement" to drop any further appeals.
Buju Banton (given name Mark Myrie) is currently serving a mandatory 10-year sentence in a Georgia correctional facility on cocaine charges.
Last Thursday, the reggae singer said he would be halting any further appeals, while the US Attorney Office announced it would be dismissing firearms charge against the singer.
"The court had thrown out the gun charge twice. However, the prosecution still had the option of pursuing a new trial ... and if convicted, he would get an additional five years," the St Lucian-born, US-based Duncan told the Jamaica Observer.
Buju Banton -- who was arrested in 2009 -- was convicted in February 2011. He is scheduled to be deported to Jamaica in 2019.
The support committee coordinator said the decision to discontinue the appeals came from the artiste himself.
"It was his own decision, based on his own analysis. He realised that every time there is hope, the court would say something else. He said he's done 5 1/2 years and could do 3 1/2 years more. It had nothing [to do] with legal cost, as he always paid his lawyers," she explained.
The entertainer's legal team comprises Harvard professor Charles Olgetree and Max Stern.
In January, Olgetree told the Observer he would be pulling out all the stops to free his client.
"We will be fighting for Buju Banton's freedom. We will present our arguments for a reversal of his conviction to the entire court in an en banc hearing later this spring," he said.
Duncan, who said the support group was formed in 2011 to champion Buju Banton's cause, said despite the decision, he remains positive.
"I spoke with him today. He's the same person, in terms of spirit. He's writing great music for his fans," she said.
Days after his 2011 conviction, Buju Banton won a Grammy Award for his album Before Dawn. His other albums include 'Til Shiloh (1995), Inna Heights (1997) and Unchained Spirit (2000).

May 11, 2015

I-Octane brought the energy and fun to Lennon High

The minute the bus rolled in on the grounds of Lennon’s High School in Mocho, Clarendon, Jamaica, there was no escaping the buzz of energy that heralded his arrival. Teachers could be heard ‘shushing students” to get back to their classes as it was not yet time for what they were anticipating.

As it turned out it was something worth waiting for as I-Octane, plus the special guests artistes who accompanied him – including Blade, East, Rhyming King and Mikki Ras gave the students something to think about.

Prior to his performance the artiste born Byiome Muir gave students a ‘pep’ talk.
“I’m trying to make you look at life from a different perspective. Life has a lot of challenges. Not all of you will end up at UTECH (University of Technology) but focus on your academics and shoot for the stars if you fall you will still land in the sky,” he told them.
He encouraged them to highlight their strength and then maximize on it.
‘”Each have your own individual talent and gift, and each play an important role in the puzzle of life,” he said.
With the ‘talk’ out the way it was time for what they were all clamouring for – his high energy performance and that he delivered with the aid of sound system Di Unit with selectors Badda Bling and Little Rich.

With students looking down from the upstairs block and those on the ground floor level, I-Octane abandoned the make shift stage and positioned himself in the centre of the green area and had both teachers and students totally captivated.
He could do no wrong as he performed songs such as Happy Time, Mama You Alone, What A Way We Shatting and it was even more personal and touching when he dedicated his super popular Lose A Friend song to Courtney Coleman – music teacher who died this year, in addition to the boys and gentleman that were recently gunned down in Clarendon.

The first of five tours was not without its fun moments as students got the chance courtesy of Digicel, Busta and Good Good Productions to win prizes through deejaying and dance off.

Head girl Kadia Smith who also enjoyed the title of Most Outstanding Student was specially recognised by sponsors as she received a phone and credit from Digicel, a gift basket from Busta and cash from Good Good Productions.

The I-Octane School tour will continue on May 12, 13 and 18 at Titchfield High School in Portland, Robert Lightbourne High in St Thomas the following day and Claude McKay High in Clarendon. 

May 04, 2015

I-Octane goes to school; tour kicks off May 5

Kingston, JAMAICA:- Acclaimed reggae singer Byiome Muir aka I-Octane is preparing to go to school, and yes he will definitely be focusing on the three ‘R’s – reading, (w)riting and (a)rithmetic – and so much more as he seeks to live out the theme, ‘Uplifting the Island’s Children’.

A school tour with a difference is what the Digicel and Busta brand ambassador had in mind when he assembled his team to flesh out the plans for this journey. His idea was to use this opportunity to interact with young minds in a meaningful way and give them a life changing experience. It was decided therefore that  during the month of May - Child Month – Team I-Octane would visit select rural high schools and seek partnership with institutions of higher learning. The day’s activity at each school would therefore focus on motivational talks from both I-Octane and a representative from the college, along with a performance from the artiste and giveaways from sponsors.

“I wanted to visit schools in the country, preferably those that are called ‘deep rural’. The fact is that everything seems to happen in the city – Kingston, Mo Bay – and unfortunately some places are forgotten. I also wanted to bring more to the table than a performance. As artistes, we are always criticized for not using our influence and status to uplift the youth, and with all the killing and the madness  that is taking place, I felt that now is the time for me to take some more crucial steps towards that upliftment,” the Lose A Friend singer explained.

The conscious reggae artiste added “We took the decision to invite HEART Trust NTA to  accompany us and tell the students in detail what they are all about and let these youngsters realize that this is a wonderful opportunity for them after leaving high school.”

The tour, which also has another component, a quiet model search by renowned modeling agency, Saint International, kicks off on  May 5 with a visit to the school named after Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Garvey High School in  St Ann. This will be followed by a trip to Lennon High School, situated in Mocho, in Octane’s home parish, Clarendon, on  May 7. Also on the artiste’s school tour itinerary are Titchfield High School in Portland on May 12; Robert Lightbourne High School in St. Thomas on May 13 and Claude Mckay High School, also in Clarendon on May 18.

Main sponsors for the ‘Uplifting the Island’s Children’ school tour are Digicel and Busta soft drinks, while associate and media sponsors include Youth Link, Fiwi Choice, Heart Trust NTA, Saint International and Di Unit Sound system.